Cuban-American Author Achy Obejas Visits Medaille to Speak With Students and Present Her Work

Cuban-American author Achy Obejas speaking at Medaille College

Renowned Cuban-American author Achy Obejas spent a week at Medaille’s Buffalo campus from September 25 to 29, as a visiting fellow from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. The visit was one of handful of other fellowships at colleges across the United States coordinated by the Council of Independent Colleges

During her stay at Medaille, Obejas spent time serving as a guest lecturer in several different English and creative arts classes, speaking to students about different aspects of writing and issues of identity. In addition, she workshopped pieces of the students’ writing, giving them expert advice: “To get published, mechanics matter. You want to make it easy for the editor.”

Obejas also performed some of her own work on Thursday, September 28, at the first installment of this year's Medaille College Write Thing Reading Series, which is coordinated by Professor and English Program Director Mary Louise Hill, Ph.D. Among her readings that evening was a short story entitled "The Maldives" from her new book, The Tower of the Antilles. That story will be included in the Best American Short Stories 2017 publication. View photos from the Achy Obejas Write Thing reading in the online album.

At the end of her week-long visit, Obejas said that she found Medaille students to be engaged and well-prepared, and she described English program faculty members as “dynamic, committed individuals who really care about their students.” When asked to articulate the value of an English degree, Obejas stated: “An English degree is really a degree in critical thinking. It teaches you how to organize thoughts and conduct research.” She pointed out that in the modern job market, high-tech companies and businesses need people who possess critical thinking skills.

Obejas is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Ruins, Days of Awe, and three other books of fiction. She edited and translated (into English) the anthology Havana Noir, and has since translated Junot Díaz, Rita Indiana, Wendy Guerra and many others. In 2014, she was awarded a USA Ford Fellowship for her writing and translation. She currently serves as the distinguished visiting writer at Mills College in Oakland, California.

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